We started the Bumi Sangkuriang Jazz Night with simple intention: to bring jazz back at home. This old building with vintage, grandeur ballroom has a long history of jazz ever since it was built in 1957. Jazzuality.com is partnering with the pioneer of jazz school in Bandung, the Venche Music School (VMS) creating the event titled Bumi Sangkuriang Jazz Night in January. We are happy with the result. We got more and more people came to the event. Long story short, we now have come to the 4th edition.
Like in the previous ones, we invited the jazz greats from Jakarta to join the ensamble of musicians and bands from local scene.We actually invited only Johanes Radianto as mentioned earlier, but we are fortunate this time, because Johanes actually brought his buddy from The Jongens, pianist Dhani Syah. So, we got two great jazz musicians graduated from Klaus Prins Conservatorium in Groningen for this edition. Here is the coverage of the Bumi Sangkuriang Jazz Night #4.
We are happy to have the founder of a well-established music school in Bandung who also has jazz in their curriculum. The name of the school is M.E Music Centre, established in 2006 by Michelle Efferin just a year after she graduated from Australian Institute of Music. As this school which is based on Encore Music Education for its curriculum is commemorating its 10th anniversary, we think it’s a perfect time to have them celebrating it with the public.
As usual, she performed under Michelle Efferin & Friends. Joining her are her long time partners: husband Richard Sirait (drums), Oggie Samuel (guitar) and Iwan (bass). Plus a beautiful young girl with delightful jazz voice, Celline Indrawirawan. What’s also important to mention is that this band is no stranger to this venue since they were heavily active years ago in the past community event held here. So in a way, it is like bringing them back home.
For this special moment, Michelle decided to go back to her first love, one name who made her fall in love with jazz for the first time, Bill Evans. “Bill Evans is my inspiration in piano playing.. I love his simplicity, beautiful melody, rich harmony and voicing”, she said.
Right after we introuced her, she started grand with a song listed in Bill Evans’ album in 1961, “The Boy Next Door”. Right after that, Celline joined them on stage and got huge applause with a song everyone know, Etta James’ “At Last”. Celline is the kind of singer who breathes jazz within her voice. “Summertime” brought without Oggie, then the complete group sealed their appearance in happy mood with “Take the ‘A’ Train.”
M.E Music School has introduced so many kids to jazz and taught them how to play jazz right and fun. We have seen so many good talents coming from this school and we believe they will keep on making jazz singers and musicians in the future. Lovely package served humble but grand by Michelle Efferin and Friends. We enjoyed their presence during the 2008-2010 period in this ballroom, we love them more now. Such strong unit serving jazz in beautiful way. Happy 10th Anniversary, M.E Music School! We hope to see more fruits coming from you!
The second performance also shared history with the past regular community event hosted by Klab Jazz. It’s a senior classical guitar teacher Krishnan Mohamad. Although he is a great teacher and guitarist in the classical scene, some of his soul and spirit belong to jazz too. Just like Michelle, Krishnan Mohamad was active in community jazz events back then. We haven’t heard much from him lately, so we are happy when he’s willing to grace the stage again under the same name, Krishnan Mohamad Project: The Jazz Trio.
For this gig Krishnan brought in two young jazz lions: Samuel Andrean (drums) and Steven Anthony (bass). Krishnan started with solo guitar playing “Route 66”. Then the boys joined him playing more songs, from Jobim’s classic “Wave”, standards “All the Things You Are”, Another song from Bill Evans “Waltz for Debby” and then his own composition which kind of blends jazz and classical, “February”.
The structure of jazz is pretty much different than classical. But then, usually when we see a classical musician plays jazz, we enjoy seeing how they build a solid structure over the liquid jazz concept. It always gives us something different. We knew Krishnan as a good jazz fusion player based from what we saw before, but now we see his cool ability to play pure jazz with some classical touches here and there. Steven and Samuel did well, including some solo runs given by Krishnan in some parts. In the spirit of bringing jazz back home, We are happy to bring Krishnan back home to Bumi Sangkuriang.
Then New Equinox got their chance. Speaking of this band of youngsters, they have been shaped as trio since a few years ago. In 2016 they marked their comeback and keep their existance by involving various players. For this edition New Equinox consisted of Aries Ardiansyah (bass), Alman Naufal (drums) and a stunning pianist resides and studies in Singapore but currently enjoys his holiday in Bandung, Jason Limanjaya (keyboard).
Surprisingly this band of youngsters bagged the loudest applause and cheers. They began with a famous tune of John Coltrane, “Giant Step” in faster tempo. Then they took Miles Davis’ gem “So What”, went swinging with “Beautiful Love” and “All the Things You Are.”
Alman was on fire, playing like tranced and that forced the audience to applause loudly. Aries as usual served strong, essential rhythm. As for the self-taught pianist Jason, he was impressive. Not only he got good skill, he’s sharp too. His facial expression caught our attention as well, making his performance even shinier. At the last song he injected deadly dose of funk on a song composed by Pee Wee Ellis and made famous by Jaco Pastorius, “The Chicken.”
This new combination of players actually worked really, really well. Jason adapted fast with the other two, probably because he often jam in Singapore. Only a couple of practice, he said, but they quickly clicked and as the result, we saw a potential new trio. Maybe it would be difficult since Jason will soon be back to Singapore, but who knows. One thing for sure, they have chemistry, are able to build solid compositions and entertaining as well.
For the last session we featured a great jazz guitarist from younger generation, born in Semarang but now resides in Jakarta, Johanes Radianto. He graduated from Prins Claus Conservatory in 2007 and Koninklijk Conservatorium in 2009 in Denhaag then moved back to pursue his career in his homeland. Soon after he started getting busy in the national jazz scene, playing in many musical events in the capital and elsewhere, from small gigs to prestigious festivals including frequent appearance at the Java Jazz Festival.
Speaking of bands he is in, he’s currently a member of The Jongens Quartet which has released two albums so far: The Selftitled (2014) and Industri (2015). You can buy the album at our online store here: http://store.jazzuality.com/product/the-jongens/ and http://store.jazzuality.com/product/the-jongens-quartet-industri/. Step aside of The Jongens, Johanes has also locked in some projects like a interesting guitar-piano duo with Dhani Syah.
Dhani Syah, as we mentioned earlier also came to play. Dhani fell in love with jazz after listening to jazz giants like Wynton Kelly, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis. Like Johanes, he graduated from Netherlands. While in there, he was featured in Kestutis Vaignis Quartet’s album, “Gypsy Nature”. He received “The Artistry of Dick Oatts and Young Jazz Musician” award and became the member of Re-Bop Unit, a jazz group consisted of selected students from different country by Dick Oatts. Later on, he went on tour for promiting the album around Europe. Nowadays, other than playing with The Jongens Quartet, he is working on a new project, Dhani Syah Trio. We are going to feature the trio next month in Braga Jazz Walk, stay tuned for more details.
Johanes and Dhani were assited by two of New Equinox, Alman and Aries. This time Aries changed his gear to contrabass. They took “The Nearness of You” as the first song followed by Charlie Parker’s “Anthropology”. After “I Remember You”, Johanes led the group visiting Elis Regina’s song from 1974, “Brigas Nunca Mais”.
From there, they bopped again with “Billie’s Bounce” and then repainted a ballad from Billie Holiday, “I’m a Fool to Want You” beautifully. They sealed up their performance as well as the event cheerfully, swinging with a popular standard from 1926, “Bye Bye Blackbird”.
Nutricious collaboration was served chilled by Johanes Radianto, Dhani Syah and two New Equinox members who never met and played together before. Johanes and Dhani have added the coming of great jazz musicians particularly guitarist to shape up the quality of Bumi Sangkuriang Jazz Night. Ellegant and stylish, these two artistic jazzmen made it looked simple yet stunningly beautiful. Alman and Aries did well in accompanying him. The photo session became the very last meal as usual.
Hopefully from now on, you will already know that jazz will be available to enjoy at Bumi Sangkuriang every month on the second Thursday. Variety of jazz that are still rooted to the origins hopefully will give benefit to the jazz development in Bandung and compliment to the fans. We send respect to all playing musicians, the sound operator, the supporters, everyone involved and of course, the enthusiastic audience. Hope to see you again next month!
Reporter & Photographer: Riandy Kurniawan